The Story of JAC-74 goes way back. It is the product of the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station (CAES) breeding program. It is the longest continuous chestnut breeding program in the United States. It is from a controlled cross in 1950 between a Japanese/American hybrid and a Chinese tree. It is 50% Chinese, 25% Japanese and 25% American. It was one of thousands of trees planted in the 1950's in an attempt to find a replacement for the lost American chestnut trees.
The Japanese x American hybrid served as the female parent of the cross. It is known as the Minturn hybrid. The American tree in this hybrid was located in Washington, D.C. and was given the designation FP551. It was known as Beall's dentata. The Japanese tree was located in Syosset Long Island, NY. FP551 served as the pollen parent of the Minturn hybrid sometime in the 1930's.
The Chinese parent, PI 78744 is known as the Tiger Paw chestnut. It was imported into the United States by plant explorer Peter Liu in 1931. The Tiger Paw chestnuts were found growing near the Fa Hua Ssu temple near Beijing. Mr. Liu said they were the finest trees and nuts he had seen in all of China. The flavor of the Tiger Paw chestnut is deemed to be excellent.
The chestnut tree JAC-74 has been growing in it's present location since 1953. The planting has been invaded by native hardwoods, but the tree is competing well and showing good timber form and high blight resistance. It is a vigorous grower and over 70 feet in height. In 2012 the diameter was measured at 17.76 inches. The nuts are of medium size with very good flavor and ripen by the first week of September.
Tree JAC-74 showing it's timber form in 2012.
Far left - American chestnuts.
Middle - Mountaineer chestnuts (American x JAC-74)
Far right - JAC -74 chestnuts.
Multiple flowers on a grafted JAC-74